Back to the soil…

Landscape artist Strijdom van der Merwes crop circle installation near Caledon remains unharvested, and although still prominent by comparison with the surrounding harvested wheat fields, it is slowly fading back into the soil.

The two giant crop circles planted with canola and wheat at the farm Boontjieskraal near Caledon on the N2 motorway, by Stellenbosch landscape artist, Strijdom van der Merwe, are gradually returning to the soil as Mr Van der Merwe predicted they would (“Landscape art focuses on SU’s contribution to agriculture”, Bolander September 12).

The landscape art project, titled The Earth, was executed with the support of the Faculty of Agri-sciences at Stellenbosch University, as part of the faculty’s centenary celebrations this year.

Mr Van der Merwe expected that the circle and cross planted with canola, would make a bright yellow display during flowering season. “Land art, like farming, harnesses the earth and the elements. It involves a long and patient process. It all depends on nature. We will only be able to see the entire picture in September when the canola will hopefully have an extravagant display of yellow flowers. If that does not happen, it is also part of the process,” Mr Van der Merwe said in the early stages of the project.

By the end of September, it was at its most beautiful, fading relatively quickly to the blue-green characteristic of ripened canola over a five-day period (“Landscape art in action”, Bolander October 3).

Some seven weeks later, the wheat surrounding the crop circles has been harvested and the once prominent feature is fading back into the landscape, as Mr Van der Merwe hoped it would.

“I like creating something that will eventually disappear again. As a land artist, I do not want to superimpose my ego on the landscape. Nature is the most important element I work with.”